Friday, January 16, 2015

The Giant Mechanical Man (2012)


“I think you're just... great. Because you know what's so great about you? You're real. You don't pretend like you've got it all figured out, like everyone else walking around life. You're real. You're genuine, and you notice things, too. You pay attention.”

            Have you ever felt like you have no idea what you want to do with your life? If you have not then you are a lying bastard and not human. I always knew I wanted to study Art History and work in a museum. I had a path and I was on it for a while. Then shit happened and I questioned why. Too many people were trying to “help” me. I felt lost and confused and unmotivated. For a long time I did not have any close friends left around me. I was lonely and felt totally helpless. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life I felt like I had no real sense of purpose. I was working demeaning part time jobs that definitely did not help my morale at all. I got back on the horse with school but then awful shit happened with that and I was once again questioning everything. But eventually things changed. I met one of my best friends and then became best friends her best friend. I felt like I belonged I found my people. Then school started to work out and my life started to work out.
            Life takes time. It throws terrible shit our way making us work to get out of that rut. Sometimes all it takes is people to get us out of that rut or sometimes it takes a job or school. As Florence Welch sings in her song “Shake It Out” “It’s always darkest before the dawn.” And it truly is.
            Another thing that helped to lift me out of my rut was movies. Obviously I love movies. There is a movie for every mood and every situation in your life. We have those movie characters (and even TV characters) that we can relate to. There are several movie characters and stories I can relate to because I have felt the feelings they convey. One movie that I have only recently watched that I can relate to on every level is The Giant Mechanical Man.
            Janice (Jenna Fischer) works for a temp agency. Her life is up in the air. She has no aim, no goals, no purpose. She goes from one job to the other. When Janice returns to the temp agency office the boss tells her she is fired because she is not very personable. Two things making matters worse in her life are her rent being overdue and her younger sister Jill (Malin Akerman) trying to hook her up with this self-absorbed author named Doug (Topher Grace).
            Tim (Chris Messina) is a street performer. He works as the Giant Mechanical Man in parks, near the train station, and in front of buildings. He likes his job and sees it as an art. Unfortunately his girlfriend does not see his job as an art or being anything useful. She leaves him and her brother, who Tim is friends with, tells Tim that he needs to work like everyone else even if does not like it. One day Tim is approached by a TV news reporter who does interviews with normal everyday people on the street. He thinks Tim could be interesting. In the interview Tim mentions something about going through life. One viewer who is watching Tim and takes he says to heart is Janice.
            Janice gets evicted from her apartment. Because her cell phone got turned off she calls Jill from a payphone asking to move in with her for a while. When the call is over Janice sees Tim as the Giant Mechanical Man in front of a building. She goes up to him and tells him about how she liked what he said in the interview.
            Both Tim and Janice look in the newspaper for job listings. They each come across a listing for the local zoo. Tim is placed in maintenance. The day Janice goes down to the zoo she sees Tim cleaning out coins from an empty water fountain. She asks him where the office is she is supposed to go to. He tells her and then he recognizes her. Over time Tim and Janice become close. They enjoy each other’s company and they can see in each other is a caring understanding friend. Tim takes Janice out to a friend’s birthday party where they both have a great time together. After some dinner they head back to his place.
            Jill relentlessly pushes Janice into going out with Doug. One night Janice goes out with her sister, brother-in-law, and Dough to a restaurant. After dinner Janice walks out with Doug. He has his arm around her and he kisses her cheek. She does not look comfortable with it but she does not push Doug away. Standing on the sidewalk is the Giant Mechanical Man. Tim becomes very upset. He does not show up for work the next day and does not show up for his double date with Janice and her sister at a movie theater. Jill sneaks out during the movie and calls Doug. When the movie is over and Janice sees Doug she flips out at her sister. Janice tells Jill that she does not someone telling her what to do or trying to help she needs someone to be there for her and for Jill to just be her younger sister.
            Janice does not want to go home with Jill so she takes the train home. At the station she sees the Giant Mechanical Man. Janice tells him that she met someone at the zoo she works at and she really likes him. Tim breaks his character, looks down at her, takes his hat off, and gives Janice his hand.
            I absolutely loved Jenna Fischer in this movie. She was so perfect as Janice. What I like about Fischer in her roles, be them in movies or as Pam Beasley on The Office, she always plays real women and you believe her playing the characters because she looks like a woman you would know is real life. Fischer is not drop dead gorgeous and that to me makes her believable especially in this role. Chris Messina is the same way. He is not a very good looking guy and that made me believe his character even more. I do not know if any of what I just rambled on about makes any sense. Put it this way, I could not see Malin Akerman in the role of Janice because I could never believe someone with her looks and the way she carries herself as an actress on screen could be a Plain Jane. Does that make a little more sense? What I said about Fischer and Messina’s looks is not meant to be taken cruelly or meanly. I just loved the characters of Tim and Janice. They are beautiful people lost in a world that does not understand them and does not want to take the time to.

            The Giant Mechanical Man is one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. I loved how these two misunderstood and lost people with no purpose or happiness in life met each other and helped each other find purpose and happiness. I feel The Giant Mechanical Man is a great movie for people like me who once felt there was no purpose in their lives and had no idea what to. If you ever feel like shit and that life is just kicking you down, put on The Giant Mechanical Man for inspiration and hope.